A Week In Las Vegas, NV, On A $60,000 Salary

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Today: a marketing specialist who makes $60,000 per year and spends some of her money on an iPad.
Occupation: Marketing Specialist
Industry: Casino
Age: 27
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Salary: $60,000
Paycheck Amount (2x/month): $1,780
Gender Identity: Female
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Monthly Expenses
Rent: $725 (For my half of a 1,700-square-foot three-bedroom, two-story home that I rent with my husband.)
Loans: $0 (I paid off all my loans last year, and I recently sold my paid-off car. I'm driving my husband's car until he returns from deployment.)
Apple Music: $9.99
Acorns: $10 (I have round-up set to my purchases)
Medical/Dental/Vision: $19 (I'm on my husband's Tricare plan which is mostly paid for by the Air Force.)
Phone: $65
401(k) (2x/month): 2% of paycheck, my employer matches up to $600/year
Internet/Electricity/Gas: ~$100-$150 depending on the season (my half, split with my husband)
Jewelry/Home/Car Insurance: $115 (my half, split with my husband)
Netflix/Hulu: $11 (my half, split with my husband)
Cat Litter: $11 (my half, split with my husband)
Bark Box: $12 (my half, split with my husband)
Amazon Prime: $50 annually (my half, split with my husband)
Personal Savings: ~$1,100
Joint Account: ~$300 (My Husband and I ~sort of~ have separate accounts. We contribute about $300 each month to a shared account that goes towards groceries, pet care, home goods, etc. The remaining amount of each of our incomes goes into our own personal accounts.)

Day One

8:45 a.m. — My alarm goes off, and I quickly jump in the shower and wash my hair. While in there, I make a mental note to add a loofa to my shopping list and ask my cat if I can use her instead. She politely declines.
9:30 a.m. — I greet my husband good morning as he's been up since 6 like a weirdo, grab a Celsius energy drink, and hit the road for my eyelash extension appointment. She's 50 minutes away from my home, but she gives me a great price and does a phenomenal job (mine last four weeks!) so it's worth it. $80
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12 p.m. — On my way home I stop at a little bakery and grab us some cookies ($10) then to Sprouts to get a little lunch. Sushi is half off on Wednesdays, so I grab a roll and have the deli make a turkey bacon sandwich for my husband and I to share. $12
2 p.m. — My husband is in the Air Force and will be deploying in five days. We're both off of work during his last week at home, so we use this time to discuss what we need to do to prepare the home and myself for living alone for eight months. Though he's going to a safe place with good communication lines, managing a two-person life is difficult alone, so he want's to make sure he's leaving me in the best position for success. We make lists and plans for the next few days, then settle in for a movie.
5 p.m. — We have a fancy date planned for this evening, so I start my hair and makeup. I don't usually wear anything on a day-to-day basis besides SPF and my eyelash extensions, so getting all fancy is a treat for me. I also rented a dress from Rent The Runway ($60 pre-paid prior to the start of this money diary) as I cannot justify shelling out cash to own a Reformation dress, so this is a good, cheaper excuse to play dress up for the night.
6:15 p.m. — We head down to the Las Vegas Strip for our dinner reservation. We're dining at a beautiful restaurant that looks like a library with some highly-rated food. We order two drinks, one with gin and another with vodka, veal tomahawk, branzino, and a side of roasted cauliflower. It is just as amazing as the reviews state ($75 for my half). $75
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8:15 p.m. — We walk over to Eataly and get some chocolate gelato, a pear tarte, and an espresso to share. (Husband pays.) We discuss going elsewhere like a bar or club, but ultimately decide to head home.
10 p.m. — We get home, kick off our shoes, greet the dog and cat, and settle in for a movie on the couch. Around midnight I take my makeup off, cleanse and moisturize, and crawl into bed.
Daily Total: $167

Day Two

8:15 a.m. — My husband kisses me goodbye as he leaves for a haircut appointment. I promptly roll over and doze back off.
8:30 a.m. — I'm awoken by my dog barking loudly and running out of our room towards the stairwell. He never barks unless there's someone at our door or he needs to get our attention for a concern (we adopted him specifically for home protection), so I quickly take inventory of my surroundings. I see my home alarm has gone into entry delay on my phone and my dog is still barking like crazy. I heard my husband checking his gun before leaving, so I assume he took it with him, and I grab a baseball bat and approach the stairwell with my back to the wall. As I near, my dog stops barking, and I see my husband walking up the stairs. With a shocked look on his face he says, “I forgot my haircut is tomorrow… sorry!" Hell of a wake up call. *eyeroll*
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9 a.m. — Since I'm up, we decide to get a jump start on our to-do list, and I get ready to head to base. We stop at Starbucks on the way and get a Doppio, white chocolate mocha, egg bites, and a glazed donut. $15
9:30 a.m. — We planned to go to the gun range before it got too hot, so I can brush up on my safety skills. I'm really uncomfortable with guns, but it has provided a sense of added security even though I hope to never use it. Despite our plan the gun range is closed, so we stop by the Base Exchange for some items for his uniform (he pays) then to the base hospital to pick up my anxiety medication (100% paid by insurance).
12 p.m. — I. Am. Starving. We stop by a Mexican restaurant called Frijoles & Frescas, and it's so good. I get a carnitas taco that's the size of my hand and mango/pineapple/chia fresca. He gets a carne asada burrito and a mango strawberry fresca. He pays.
1 p.m. — I recently sold my car as it was about to kick the bucket, and car shopping is the bane of my existence. My husband knows that I won't look for cars while he's gone, so he wants us to get an idea of what I'm looking for so when the time comes to buy, I don't “point and pick the first one I see" — he's so dRaMaTiC. To no one's surprise, the car salesman is extremely misogynistic and despite my telling him I'll be the sole name on the title, the salesman asks my husband all the questions. After test driving the second car and reviewing numbers that are absurd, I stand up, look at both my husband and the salesman right in the eyes and say, “I would like to go home now,” and start walking away. #fedup.
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3 p.m. — Despite my husband knowing me so well, he is still surprised when I sometimes don't follow social norms. But when enough is enough, why suffer?! We get in the car and head to UPS to drop off my Rent the Runway dress (prepaid), then stop for some spam musubi ($6) and head home. $6
5:30 p.m. — After relaxing and taking a nap, we get ready to see Avengers: End Game! We head to the fancy theater downtown that serves you dinner in the theater. We ordered a blueberry mule, vodka red bull, lemon pepper wings, a cheeseburger, salt and pepper fries, and beignets. (Husband pays)
9 p.m. — The movie was amazing!!! Such a great end to an era. We talk about it on our drive home, make some tea, and relax on the couch before we shower and head to bed.
Daily Total: $21

Day Three

8:30 a.m. — Why is it that I wake up tired?! Probably stress, but alas, I can't sleep anymore. I get up to see my husband relaxing on the couch as he's been up since 6 like a weirdo. I make us some coffee and join him for awhile.
9:30 a.m. — My husbands leaves for haircut (eyeroll) and despite the coffee I'm STILL so tired. I can hardly keep my eyes open and go back to bed for a nap. This is vacation, folks.
11:30 a.m. — I'm finally feeling a little better and decide to take the dog to the front yard to play with him and the hose. He loves water, but hates the hose for some reason, so it doesn't last long. We tried!
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12 p.m. — Some pre-deployment traditions for us are to try to get food and do things he probably won't be able to do while he's gone. We head out for Jamaican food for lunch today, and he orders a curry goat plate and I order oxtail. Both dishes come with cabbage, rice and peas, and plantains — it's SO good. If this place wasn't so far from our house, we'd go all the time (it's probably a good thing it's so far). He pays.
1:30 p.m. — We're full and happy and decide to keep the train going and go to a hookah lounge. It's happy hour, so we order a frozen hookah with Skittles flavor, a blueberry lemon drop for me, and a Stella for him. We have some of our best conversations over hookah, so we're there long enough to order a second round of drinks and hookah ($38 + $10 tip). $48
4 p.m. — We decide to stop at this great bagel place to get some breakfast for the next two days. We get a sourdough, everything, asiago, and egg bagel as well as plain, cinnamon raisin, and cheddar jalapeño cream cheese. We like our options. $15
4:45 p.m. — We stop at Sprouts to pick up some groceries for dinner. We grab chicken thighs, broccoli, old fashioned oats, brown sugar, and heavy whipping cream. $32
5:30 p.m. — Once home, my husband settles in to play some FIFA while I try my hand at making Momofuku's Crack Pie. It's relatively easy, just a lengthy process — we won't get to eat it until tomorrow! Half way through the pie I pause to make air fried chicken thighs, roasted broccoli, and white rice, and we eat while watching a few episodes of Grey's Anatomy on Netflix.
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9 p.m. — The pie looks GOOD! I can't wait to try tomorrow. I shower and tuck into bed.
Daily Total: $95

Day Four

8:30 a.m. — Why do I always wake up at this time. 10 a.m. is my dream lie in, but so be it. I head downstairs to see my husband has been pulling weeds in the back yard. I change into grungy clothes and head out to help him.
9:15 a.m. — The backyard has been neglected for so long, it looks so different without all the weeds! I head inside to shower and notice it's a little warm in the house. I ask my husband to take a look while I'm in the shower. I hop out of the shower and it's…warmer? Great news, our air conditioner isn't working at it's going to get to 98 degrees today! At least it went out before my husband left so we can suffer together? We call our property manger, and she can't get someone out until tomorrow morning.
10 a.m. — I toast the bagels from yesterday and discuss a plan for the heat and our animals for today. It's only about 78 degrees in our house right now, so we'll stay home and monitor. Worst comes to worst, we'll get a hotel room.
12 p.m. — I've been slowly cleaning the house with cool-off breaks all morning. It's up to 82 degrees in the house now and both the dog and the cat are sprawled on the tile near the fans. I lay out ice packs for them to lay near if they need to. As I heat up the leftover musubis, my friend D. lets me know she has a portable AC we can use for the night!!! This is so great! We plan to go to an early dinner, and we'll pick it up after.
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4:30 p.m. — It's 85 in the house, and I'm cranky. I hate the heat, but the animals seem to be doing okay with it. We get ready for dinner and head to a local Indian restaurant. We get two fruity alcoholic drinks, butter chicken, lamb masala, tandoori wings, rice, and garlic naan. ($63 + $10 tip) $73
6 p.m. — We stop by D.'s house to grab the AC. It's a short visit as we want to start cooling off the house ASAP!
6:30 p.m. — We set up the portable AC in the living room, and it's so nice to get some relief! We watch a few episodes of Grey's Anatomy and try the crack pie. WOWOWOWOW. It is thick, gooey, rich, and delicious!
10 p.m. — We lug the portable AC unit to our guest room and get set up, It'll be easier for the unit to cool off a smaller room. I take a cold shower and watch a documentary about the Earth as I nod off.
Daily Total: $73

Day Five

8:30 a.m. — I wake up to the AC guys working on our unit. It's an easy fix, it just needs a new motor. BLESS BE THY COLD AIR! (Cost covered by property manager)
9 a.m. — While my husband wraps up with the AC guys, I make some coffee, clean up the kitchen, and toast the last of our bagels. We avoid the topic, but the elephant in the room is that this is our last full day together before he's gone for quite some time.
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10 a.m. — Since I'm about to have the sole responsibility of keeping this house clean, we deep clean, so I can at least start off on the right foot.
12:30 p.m. — I'm STARVING! I'm suddenly in full on hangry mode and my husband is dilly dallying while I wait for him to get ready. We finally get it together and head to Five Guys for some good burgers, fries, and a shake. $18
2 p.m. — After lunch we head over to Target to get items he either might not get on base or to at least tide him over while he travels there for the next few days. Mostly toiletries, underwear, socks, and I toss in a face mask in for good measure. He pays.
3 p.m. — We get home, and I sit with him while he packs. I watch as he counts his uniforms, ensures he has his gear, and gathers his things. I begin to get overwhelmed of the idea that this is it, this is our last evening together. The last time I get to see his little dimple when he smiles and I poke it. Last time I'll see him wrestle our dog. I step out of the room and let out the tears and wipe them away quickly and gather myself before returning. I don't like to get too emotional too often over deployments as I know he already feels bad for leaving, and I try to remember he's hurting as well.
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6 p.m. — We relax while watching Netflix and I convince my husband to wait until 7:30 to watch Game of Thrones. It's hard to see all the dark scenes when the sun is still out at 6 p.m.! He begrudgingly agrees, and I heat up the Indian and Jamaican left overs for us to eat while killing time. Iron stomachs.
9 p.m. — WHAT AN EPISODE! And I was totally right about waiting until dark to watch it, even with our own lights off, it was kind of hard to see. We leash up our dog and take him on a little walk to get some energy out then verify my husband has everything together for tomorrow.
10 p.m. — We shower, get in bed, and snuggle. I want to live in this moment forever, I'm not ready for tomorrow.
Daily Total: $18

Day Six

6 a.m. — The alarm goes off and reality is slowing hitting us. We snuggle closer as I push back tears and try not to think about the fact that this will be the last time he'll be in this bed for eight months. I'm not ready, but we get out of bed, and I help him finish the last of his packing.
7 a.m. — We pack up the car and he says a slow goodbye to our dog and cat. He's especially attached to our dog, so it's hard to watch. Of course our dog has no clue, but I think our cat has an idea of what's going on. Suitcases give a good hint. I grab a Celsius from the fridge, and we get in the car to head to the airport.
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8:15 a.m. — It takes some time due to morning traffic, but we make it just in time for him to report for duty. There's about 10 others deploying with him and some of them also brought their wives and children. We all focus on getting their bags checked, and the families are allowed a buddy pass to go to the gate. I'm thankful for this perk and a little extra time together.
9 a.m. — We're briefed by the flight chief on their travel plan. It'll be a long haul, but at least they'll get to wear civilian clothes. We go through security and head to the American Express lounge. Active duty military get the annual fee waived for their platinum card, and this card grants us access to their lounge with a free breakfast buffet, open bar, wifi, and expansive lounge areas. We graze on the food and drink some coffee as we talk life logistics. My heart is starting to ache, it's almost time.
10:10 a.m. — We approach the gate and the flight is already boarding. We sit and cuddle until the last boarding group finally lines up. We stand, and the moment I look into his eyes my tears start flowing. We hug and kiss, and I try and soak in every last bit of him as the moments tick by. After one final kiss, I slowly let go of his hands and begin to walk away as he boards the plane. I cry the entire walk to the car.
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11 a.m. — I pay for parking ($6) and gather myself once I get in my car. It's my last day off before going back to work, so I head to the base to get groceries. $6
12 p.m. — I arrive at base and decide to browse the Exchange. I've been thinking about getting an iPad for awhile and figure it's a good time to check it out. Turns out it's on sale an additional $50 and everything is tax free on base, so I snap it up. $260
12:30 p.m. — I get to the commissary and realize this is the first time I've been here without my husband. Hopefully little reminders like this won't hurt for long. Meat is sold at an amazing price on base, so I stock up. Two packages of ground beef, chicken breasts, chicken thighs, two packages ground pork, t-bone steak, frozen dinners, star crunch, wet dog food, and Game of Thrones Oreos. $52
1:15 p.m. — I wrap up on base and quickly stop at Hobby Lobby for three skeins of yarn. I like to keep my hands busy during deployments, so I have a tradition of crocheting a blanket each time. $10
1:45 p.m. — I stop at Sprouts for the rest of my groceries. Fruit is much fresher here and there's a wider organic selection, so I grab zucchini, strawberries, blueberries, and quinoa. $9
2:15 p.m. — I have that grocery syndrome where I buy all the groceries and then am too tired to make lunch with it, so I swing by Del Taco for a chicken taco, fries, quesadilla, and a Dr. Pepper. $9
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2:30 p.m. — Finally home and I let the dog out, greet the cat, put all the groceries away, and settle in to enjoy my lunch then relax on the couch.
4 p.m. — Oops, I accidentally fell asleep on the couch! I wake up to a text from D. who's heading over to my place for dinner. I quickly clean the guest bathroom and pull the chicken out of the refrigerator. I realize that it's frozen solid still, so I text her to grab a whole raw chicken on her way over.
4:45 p.m. — D. arrives! I get started with dinner — I spatchcock the chicken, rub the skin with an herbed butter, and toss it in the oven. Half way through the chicken cook time, I make some mashed potatoes and D. makes some garlic green beans. Her husband deployed a month ago, so it feels good to have someone around that really gets it. Most people sympathize with my situation but only a few empathize. Understand the difference between the two and you quickly realize who your real friends are.
7 p.m. — We eat the rest of the crack pie and drink tea while watching Someone Great on Netflix. Highly recommend!
9 p.m. — D. heads home and I take my dog on a quick walk and feed the animals, then I shower and get ready for bed. The emptiness of the bed is overwhelming, and I snuggle my husband's pillow and have a good cry while trying to fall asleep. Day one in the books, I can do this.
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Daily Total: $346

Day Seven

6:30 a.m. — My alarm goes off and I'm in agony. I barely slept at all, and I am on the struggle bus today. I hit snooze.
7 a.m. — Okay, I guess I'll get my day started. I go downstairs and let the dog out to do his business and go back upstairs to get ready. I wash my face, apply a SPF moisturizer, do a messy bun, and get dressed in business casual attire (my department is pretty laid back).
7:20 a.m. — I let the dog back in. As I'm gathering up my stuff to head to work, I see my uncle is calling me. When I answer he is in a panic and says there's something wrong with my aunt. He's in Utah for work, and she called him, stumbling her words, saying something is wrong, and she called 911 to have an ambulance take her to a hospital as she thinks she's having a stroke. I internally panic and assure him I will find out which hospital she's being transported to and will be by her side. I jump in the car and head in the direction of her home.
7:40 a.m. — I have narrowed down the hospital she's being transported to, and it's 45 minutes away from my house. The entire drive I'm praying this isn't my last day with her. We're very close, and I know this is a bad situation as she's afraid of hospitals and wouldn't resort to this if something wasn't very wrong.
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8 a.m. — I arrive and am buzzed into the emergency room by a nurse and head back to her room. When I see her, she is surrounded by nurses and doctors attaching monitors and IVs to her, a small wave of relief washes over me as she recognizes me and greets me, a small but good sign.
9 a.m. — I hold her hand as we get more information from the tests she's undergone and the questions she's answered. The lead ER doctor tells us that there is a medication he recommends that could remove the clot that's causing her stroke and prevent any additional damage that may affect her brain. However, there is a chance that it could also kill her by brain bleed. We hear all the pros and cons and consult with a neurologist, and I discuss with her what her quality of life would be without it. I call her husband with this recommendation, and he agrees with my aunt that she should get the medication.
10 a.m. — The ER doctor does one last stroke test to ensure we are doing the right thing. To our great surprise and excitement, she's doing better since her last test 45 minutes ago. We discuss again, and it's decided that she will not take the meds and will continue with traditional stroke treatment.
1 p.m. — While sitting with her, my uncle finally appears. He nabbed the first flight back to town and raced straight over. I give them some privacy and head to the cafeteria to get a slice of pizza, potato wedges, and Monster. ($6) Crap food is comforting and this experience has been exhausting. Once I finish my meal, the emotions I've suppressed all morning hit me. I sob into my hands as I think about how I had to support my aunt and make the decision that could have possibly killed her. I call my best friend, V., and cry to her for a bit. She comforts me and offers to check on my animals later this afternoon so I wont need to worry about them. She's the best. $6
2 p.m. — I grab some water bottles and an Uncrustable ($4) for my uncle as I'm sure he hasn't eaten anything and head back. $4
4 p.m. — It's slow, but my aunt is showing signs of improvement. We're all so thrilled when my dad surprises us by walking into the room. He lives in Oregon, so this is such a highlight on this difficult day.
4:30 p.m. — Since my dad has arrived, I encourage my uncle to take a break and walk with me to the cafeteria. His love for my aunt is so inspiring. In his panic this morning and while trying to get on a plane home, he texted me that she was his world and he loved her with every breath. They've been together for 40 years and thanks to her improvement from this morning, we're hoping for more. While in the cafeteria I get a coffee ($1) and sit with him while he eats steak tips and rice. $1
8 p.m. — My aunt has been very slowly improving. Her speech is better, the numbness is going away, and her blood pressure is dropping. I'm exhausted and starving, so my dad and I decide to grab dinner together then head home before returning tomorrow. Some good food and comfortable seating sounds perfect, so we head to a BBQ joint we use to go to before he moved. We talk for quite a while, enjoy our meals, and I pay as I'm so grateful to have him here ($41+ $8 tip). $49
11 p.m. — I'm finally home. I let the dog out one last time, feed him and the cat, shower, and finally melt into bed. I'm so tired and the emptiness of the bed encases me again. I know it'll be another long night of little sleep, but my aunt is okay, and day two of deployment is complete. I can do this.
Daily Total: $60
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